Problems concerning Marriage
7 1 Now, as to the things in your letter to me: It is good for a man to have nothing to do with a woman. 2 But because of the desires of the flesh, let every man have his wife, and every woman her husband. 3 Let the husband give to the wife what is right; and let the wife do the same to the husband. 4 The wife has not power over her body, but the husband; and in the same way the husband has not power over his body, but the wife. 5 Do not keep back from one another what is right, but only for a short time, and by agreement, so that you may give yourselves to prayer, and come together again; so that Satan may not get the better of you through your loss of self-control. 6 But this I say as my opinion, and not as an order of the Lord. 7 It is my desire that all men might be even as I am. But every man has the power of his special way of life given him by God, one in this way and one in that. 8 But I say to the unmarried and to the widows, It is good for them to be even as I am. 9 But if they have not self-control let them get married; for married life is better than the burning of desire.
10 But to the married I give orders, though not I but the Lord, that the wife may not go away from her husband 11 (Or if she goes away from him, let her keep unmarried, or be united to her husband again); and that the husband may not go away from his wife. 12 But to the rest I say, and not the Lord; If a brother has a wife who is not a Christian, and it is her desire to go on living with him, let him not go away from her. 13 And if a woman has a husband who is not a Christian, and it is his desire to go on living with her, let her not go away from her husband. 14 For the husband who has not faith is made holy through his Christian wife, and the wife who is not a Christian is made holy through the brother: if not, your children would be unholy, but now are they holy. 15 But if the one who is not a Christian has a desire to go away, let it be so: the brother or the sister in such a position is not forced to do one thing or the other: but it is God's pleasure that we may be at peace with one another. 16 For how may you be certain, O wife, that you will not be the cause of salvation to your husband? or you, O husband, that you may not do the same for your wife?
17 Only, as the Lord has given to a man, and as is the purpose of God for him, so let him go on living. And these are my orders for all the churches. 18 If any man who is a Christian has had circumcision, let him keep so; and if any man who is a Christian has not had circumcision, let him make no change. 19 Circumcision is nothing, and its opposite is nothing, but only doing the orders of God is of value. 20 Let every man keep the position in which he has been placed by God. 21 If you were a servant when you became a Christian, let it not be a grief to you; but if you have a chance to become free, make use of it. 22 For he who was a servant when he became a Christian is the Lord's free man; and he who was free when he became a Christian is the Lord's servant. 23 It is the Lord who has made payment for you: be not servants of men. 24 My brothers, let every man keep in that condition which is the purpose of God for him.
25 Now about virgins I have no orders from the Lord: but I give my opinion as one to whom the Lord has given mercy to be true to him. 26 In my opinion then, because of the present trouble, it is good for a man to keep as he is. 27 If you are married to a wife, make no attempt to get free from her: if you are free from a wife, do not take a wife. 28 If you get married it is not a sin; and if an unmarried woman gets married it is not a sin. But those who do so will have trouble in the flesh. But I will not be hard on you. 29 But I say this, my brothers, the time is short; and from now it will be wise for those who have wives to be as if they had them not; 30 And for those who are in sorrow, to give no signs of it; and for those who are glad, to give no signs of joy; and for those who are getting property, to be as if they had nothing; 31 And for those who make use of the world, not to be using it fully; for this world's way of life will quickly come to an end. 32 But it is my desire for you to be free from cares. The unmarried man gives his mind to the things of the Lord, how he may give pleasure to the Lord: 33 But the married man gives his attention to the things of this world, how he may give pleasure to his wife. 34 And the wife is not the same as the virgin. The virgin gives her mind to the things of the Lord, so that she may be holy in body and in spirit: but the married woman takes thought for the things of the world, how she may give pleasure to her husband. 35 Now I say this for your profit; not to make things hard for you, but because of what is right, and so that you may be able to give all your attention to the things of the Lord.
36 But if, in any man's opinion, he is not doing what is right for his virgin, if she is past her best years, and there is need for it, let him do what seems right to him; it is no sin; let them be married. 37 But the man who is strong in mind and purpose, who is not forced but has control over his desires, does well if he comes to the decision to keep her a virgin. 38 So then, he who gets married to his virgin does well, and he who keeps her unmarried does better.
39 It is right for a wife to be with her husband as long as he is living; but when her husband is dead, she is free to be married to another; but only to a Christian. 40 But it will be better for her to keep as she is, in my opinion: and it seems to me that I have the Spirit of God.